Que tzaraat, tzaraat!
Parashat Tazria begins detailing tzaraat, a skin condition caused by misdeeds. Last year we looked at the connection between suffering this ailment and the sin of lashon hara, slander.
This year, we are contemplating how it feels to be quarantined outside the camp. I asked the girls how they would feel if they had to stay away from all people for a certain amount of time.
"I'd be lonely," Gabi replied quickly, which is interesting because she happily elects to spend large stretches of time by herself regularly.
"I'd like the quiet at first. And then I'd want other people around," Cohava shared. I asked her if she was Trixie Ten. [In the book, Trixie is a big sister tired of her noisy siblings. She goes away from them, but misses them and returns home] Cohava laughed and agree.
I generally do not use 'Time Out' as a punishment. Maybe one day (in my free time) I will blog about what I consider effective disciplining, and parenting as it relates to our relationship with Hashem.
However, what is suffering from Tzaraat, other than a severe form of 'Time Out'? Forced to stay outside the camp until their skin condition changes, the one afflicted remains in solitude, contemplating their misdoings.
Earlier in the week, the big girls got into an altercation before bedtime. As it was elevating, I ran over and took Cohava's arm. Carefully, I examined it. "Oh no! I think you have tzaraat! You need to leave the camp for seven minutes and then I will check on it again."
"But where am I going to go?" she asked, slightly bewildered.
"Back bathroom. Take your pjs and toothbrush. Since I am the Kohen, I will be back in 7 minutes to check on you."
"But what about-?" I knew what she was going to ask. Before she could, I picked up Gabi's arm.
"You also might have tzaraat. Take your things to the front bathroom. I will check on you soon." Gabi looked at her arm and solemnly complied.
Their time 'outside the camp' completely defused the situation. They were amused by the parasha moment and appreciated their time apart. When I went to "asses their skin" I gave them a clean bill of health, and rubbed some Aveeno on.